Roy Jones Jr. is among the best pound-for-pound fighters of all-time, having won a Silver medal at the ’88 Olympics before becoming a 6-time World Champion. He’s currently involved in a handful of ventures including a music business (just released Body Head Bangerz Vol. 2, SM Bullett is also signed to his label), a boxing training school (RJJ Fight Academy), a promotion company (Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions) and he has a career as a color commentator (HBO, TWX). JWS got a chance to talk with Captain Hook about his recent retirement, lessons learned from a failed venture and his thoughts on the Wilder/Ortiz bout Saturday night.
JWS: You just fought on February 8th, winning a unanimous 10-round decision and have won your last 4 fights. If you’re still the better fighter each time you get in the ring, why are you retiring?
Roy: Just because the risk outweighs the reward now. It’s not enough money to risk going out there at 49 years old; you’re not as fast as you used to be, strong as you used to be. These guys aren’t coming out to let you win, they’re coming out to beat you. These guys look at it like “hey that’s Roy Jones, I don’t care what age he is, I’m trying to beat him.”
JWS: Now that you’re retired, you’re committed to training (out of his gym in Pensacola, Florida) and promoting fighters; but, this isn’t your first foray into the promotion business and you weren’t particularly successful the first time around. Why is it going to be different this time?
Roy: When we tried the promotion company, we didn’t go out and get the up and coming guys that were marketable. We were getting pretty good fighters, but they were not marketable fighters. I was busy with my own career. I didn’t have the time to hand pick fighters. Now that I have the time, I can find guys with the potential to go on to something bigger. I was letting other people do it (select the promotion’s fighters) and other people don’t know it (have an eye for talent) like I know it (have an eye for talent). You can’t depend on other people to do the job, when you know you’re the man for the job.
JWS: The fight is on Showtime, so you won’t be calling it; but, can I get a prediction?
Roy: It’s going to be a good fight. I think Ortiz is a very good opponent for Wilder. If Wilder can hit him early, I think Wilder can knock him out; but, if he doesn’t, it could be really rough for Wilder because Ortiz has a lot of experience. I think Wilder gets him early.
Howie Long-Short: Roy Jones Jr. doesn’t need to be fighting at 49 years old, he’s doing so because he “can, at an elite level”. Jones had a particularly lucrative boxing career. It’s been estimated that his net worth is upwards of $45 million. If that’s the case, the only boxers worth more are Ali ($50 million), Vitali Klitschko ($65 million), Pacquiao ($100 million), Leonard ($120 million), Lewis ($130 million), De La Hoya ($200 million), Foreman ($250 million) and Mayweather Jr. ($400 million).
Fan Marino: We saw Connor McGregor get into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather and hold his own. I asked Roy, generally speaking, is it a bad idea for an MMA fighter to consent to a boxing match with a professional boxer?
Roy: It’s not a bad idea for an MMA fighter to get into a boxing right. Some MMA fighters get good at boxing and they are probably capable of beating a few boxers. A lot of those guys boxed before they got into MMA. It would be stupid for a boxer to go over, as you saw with James Toney, and try to do MMA; unless he knew judo or was a wrestler before he started boxing.
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